Lucknow: The holy pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Amarnath went in for a major shock when seven Amarnath pilgrims were killed and twelve, including three policemen, were injured when militants attacked a yatri bus and a police party in Anantnag which is along the Jammu-Srinagar Highway in South Kashmir on Monday. The militants first attacked an armoured car of the police at 8.20 pm on Monday and when the police fired back, the militants fired indiscriminately and fled. It has been reported that the bus driver had violated rules for the pilgrimage. The rules state that no yatra vehicle should be on any highway after 7 pm. It is also being claimed that the bus was neither a part of the main yatra convoy nor was it registered with the shrine board.
Reports suggest that the operation was carried out in unity by Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen. The presence of three assailants has been reported, one of them, Ismail, reportedly arrived on a motorbike and emptied two magazines on pilgrims.
Commending the driver for not stopping the bus the police officials in Anantnag said, “He saved lives”. Another said, “Had he been shot, nothing could be said of what would have happened to the remaining pilgrims.”
PM Narendra Modi expressed his anger over the attack as well as extended his condolences to the families of those killed. “We will leave no stone unturned to root out the perpetrators of this heinous crime.” PM Modi tweeted his condolences, “India will never get bogged down by such cowardly attacks & the evil designs of hate.” Gujrat CM Rupani termed it as an act of cowardice and that India will never bend down to such ideologies. He condoled the death of the two persons from Valsad who were succumbed to the incident. “The state administration is in touch with the Jammu and Kashmir administration.” Rupani has also undertaken the reponsibility of getting the dead bodies reached to their home lands as soon as possible.
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Omar Abdullah condemned the act over twitter, “Very sad news. The attack cannot be condemned strongly enough. My sympathies to the families & prayers for the injured.” He also suggested that every right thinking Kashmiri must condemn the killing of the Amarnath yatris.
Kashmiri Muslims from all walks of life raised their voices loud and clear against the brutal killing of seven Hindu pilgrims in South Kashmir on July 11th. Demonstrations were held in condemnation of the attack by various tour and travel operators as well as student groups. A young resident of Kashmir said, “Mere statements do not matter. Compassion has to be followed up by action.”he also said, “some residents of the town were planning to put up roadside stalls to welcome the yatris with placards and refreshments to make them feel safe”.
Unaffected by the Anantnag terror attack wherein seven pilgrims were killed and twelve were injured, about 22,000 pilgrims set off for the Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir amid tight security on Tuesday. Despite the circumstances, about 3,289 pilgrims, 756 women, started the strenuous trek both from Pahalgam route to the Baltal route from Jammu admist chants of “Bam Bam Bhole”, an official spokesman said.